Whether you're gearing up to watch the Oscars or you're just looking for a nostalgic, top-notch pick for your next family movie night, check out these kid-friendly Academy Award–winning films from the 1930s through the '80s. They all won multiple Oscars and probably dazzled you as a child, so they're really fun to share with your kids! Also, see this year's kid-friendly Oscar nominees and compare them with these classics.
The Wizard of Oz, 1939
Many movie critics and fans consider this to be one of the best movies of all time. It received six Academy Award nominations, and won in two categories: Best Original Song ("Over the Rainbow") and Best Original Score. It lost in the Best Picture category to another Technicolor masterpiece, Gone with the Wind. Nonetheless your kids will love following the yellow brick road along with Dorothy, Toto, and friends.
Jiminy Cricket! This Walt Disney classic was the first animated movie to win a competitive Academy Award (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs received an honorary Oscar in 1937). Pinocchio won for Best Original Song ("When You Wish Upon a Star") and Best Original Score. The timeless tale of a wooden puppet that comes to life — and learns some life lessons — will capture your kids' hearts.
Miracle on 34th Street, 1947
Did you know that this holiday-movie masterpiece won three Academy Awards? In addition to taking home two Oscars for writing (Best Original Story and Best Screenplay), it also won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle). Although it fell short in the Best Picture category (losing to Gentleman's Agreement), it's one of our favorite Christmas movies of all time!
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1954
Are your children into movies with awesome special effects? Show them what great special effects looked like in in the 1950s! This science fiction adventure received the Academy Awards for Best Special Effects and Best Art Direction – Color. The live-action Walt Disney film — which was a blockbuster in its day — is based on the classic novel of the same name by Jules Verne, in which the crew of the submarine the Nautilus must battle a terrifying giant squid.
Around the World in 80 Days, 1956
The mid-century obsession with Jules Verne's stories continued with this movie adaptation of the book Around the World in 80 Days. The epic film won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Musical Score, and Best Screenplay. The cast reportedly included nearly 70,000 extras and 8,000 animals. Just be sure your family has three hours free to join Phileas Fogg on his 80-day race to circumnavigate the globe!
Mary Poppins, 1964
This is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time, receiving more Oscar nods than any other Disney film. Of its 13 nominations, it won five Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Julie Andrews), and Best Original Song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee"). The film's magical mix of live action and animation, and its sweet storyline (loosely based on the book by P.L. Travers) will leave kids floating with laughter! It lost in the Best Picture category to another family-friendly, London-set musical: My Fair Lady.
The Sound of Music, 1965
From Mary to Maria! The year after she played Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews once again aced the role of a spirited, singing childcare provider: Maria Von Trapp. Out of its 10 Oscar nominations, it won five, including Best Picture and Best Music. With songs written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, the movie gives kids a taste of Broadway. The film is rooted in the true story of a family that fled Austria as the Nazis were taking over in World War II.
Movie musicals continued to rule the '60s with this film adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale Oliver Twist. This musical drama received 11 Academy Award nominations and won in six categories, including Best Picture. Your family will love this heartfelt story of an orphan boy who falls in with the wrong crowd on the streets of London before finding a loving family.
Star Wars, 1977
Take your kids back to "a long time ago in a galaxy far away..." This epic space film (later renamed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) shattered box office records and received 10 nominations at the 50th Annual Academy Awards. It lost in the Best Picture category to Annie Hall but won in six other categories,including Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects. Beware: Your kids might become obsessed with this famous space saga, directed by George Lucas.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982
This 1982 science-fiction classic bumped Star Wars from the top of the list of the highest grossing movies of all time and received nine Oscar nods. Audiences loved the powerful connection between a boy named Elliott and his out-of-this-world friend, E.T. Director Steven Spielberg said the film was inspired by an imaginary (alien) friend that he relied on as a child during his parents' divorce. Although the film lost the Oscar for Best Picture to Gandhi, it took home four Academy Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects.